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Friends to Lovers Romance Novels To Make You Swoon

by Maria L. Searle
Friends to lovers books

There are countless romance tropes that writers use to pull in readers. For instance, most of us are familiar with stories where people start as friends and end up as lovers. 

This is one of the most common tropes in romance novels. That’s because watching the characters grow together is incredibly relatable. 

There’s just something about friends falling for each other that’s so interesting to follow. 

So, if you’re looking for friends to love books, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll cover some of the best novels that use this trope. 

We’ll also go over what each title is about. 

Friends to Lovers Books

Friends to lovers is a simple trope many writers like to rely on. As you can guess by the name, you have two main characters that start as friends. 

Then, events will occur that’ll increase the tension between our characters. After that, when you feel like the two are about to kill each other, you notice one of them softening. 

Soon later, both characters realize that love and hate are two sides of the same coin. At that point, the friends that spent most of the story fighting, turn into lovers. 

There’s something exceptionally compelling about the friends-to-lovers trope. Most of us can relate to feelings of animosity changing into more pleasant emotions. 

Because of that, there are thousands of books that use this trope. This can make picking out a title quite the challenge. 

So, to make your life easier, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best friend-to-lover novels. We’ve also divided the books into subgenres to make choosing one a little simpler. 

1. Young Adult

The young adult category targets readers between the ages of 13 and 18. That means it’ll cover many issues that teenagers face daily. 

For instance, they’ll talk about topics like angst and social awkwardness.

On top of that, young adult novels typically use simple language. This will make understanding the books much easier. 

So, if you’re new to romance novels, this may be the subgenre for you.

1.1 Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor Douglas is a 16-year-old girl with a sad backstory. She has four siblings and they all live with their mother and step-father, Richie. 

Sadly, Richie loved to drink, which would always turn him mean. So, Eleanor and the rest of her family lived in constant fear. 

Plus, the family went through many financial struggles. Because of that, Eleanor had to go to school wearing hand-me-downs and tattered clothes. 

As you can imagine, this made her an easy target for the school bullies. Everyone at school would pick on Eleanor for how she looked and behaved. 

Even Park, an insecure 16-year-old boy, took a shot at the poor girl. Although, when he spends a little time with her in class, he notices that Eleanor is incredibly smart. 

This sparked a flame in Park’s heart. Yet, soon later, Eleanor would have to leave her home and move in with an uncle to escape her abusive stepfather. 

That puts a lot of miles between Park and Eleanor. Will their love survive the long-distance issue?

1.2 Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna Oliphant is a fun-loving girl that’s about to start her senior year of high school in Atlanta. Yet, she finds out that her dad enrolled her in a school in Paris. 

While the idea of visiting France is exciting, she can’t help but think about all the friends she’s leaving behind. 

On her first day of school, Anna can’t handle the loneliness and begins to cry in public. That’s when Meredith, a classmate, notices her and takes Anna under her wing. 

Meredith introduces Anna to her friends and shows her the ropes of the new school. As the two girls make their way around campus, they run into Etienne.

He was the most popular boy in school and had a wonderful English accent. Naturally, Anna felt an instant attraction toward him. 

However, there was one issue: Etienne had a girlfriend. So, Anna decided to forget about him and focus on her studies. 

This became next to impossible when their teacher assigned them as lab partners. Over a few weeks, Etienne and Anna develop a strong friendship. 

Although, their feelings grow far beyond that. So, will Etienne leave his girlfriend for Anna?

1.3 A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

Rune Kristiansen and Poppy Litchfield met as children in Blossom Grove, Georgia. They instantly connected and were inseparable. 

The friends got into all sorts of trouble, but they always had fun together. Then, one day, Rune found out he’d have to move back to his home country, Norway.

Poppy was heartbroken and inconsolable. Yet, she promised that she’d wait for Rune, no matter how long he was gone. 

After a teary goodbye, the two friends kept in touch for several years. They’d send messages back and forth to check in on each other. 

At some point, Rune sent a message, but never got a reply. Poppy disappeared without a word or explanation. 

So, 10 years after he left Georgia, Rune returned to find out what had happened to his friend. Will he get to the bottom of the mystery and win Poppy back?

2. Fantasy

If you like magical creatures like vampires and werewolves, this subgenre is for you. Fantasy novels follow mystical creatures living in strange worlds. 

Yet, the emotions they go through are incredibly similar to the ones we have here on Earth. Because of that, you’ll be able to relate to the fantastical creatures. 

So, if you’re looking for epic battles between good and evil, this subgenre is the way to go. 

2.1 Radiance by Grace Draven

Ildiko is a human noblewoman without much status. She’s the king’s niece, which means her chances of taking the throne are next to none. 

Yet, she’s determined to help her kingdom in any way she can. So, when Ildiko’s uncle proposed a strategic engagement, she was happy to be of service. 

He wanted to marry her off to Brishen, who is the second oldest son of the king of the Kai, a magical race of creatures. 

At first, Ildiko is hesitant, but she resigns to her fate. 

The prince was a mysterious man with a shroud of darkness. This made connecting with him quite a challenge for our heroine. 

Although, the two manage to forge a friendship based on obligation. As time went on, Ildiko began seeing a softer side of Brishen. 

Will that be enough to melt her heart?

2.2 Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat

Damen is a powerful warrior and the eldest son of the King of Akileos. Because of that, everyone in the kingdom expected him to take over the throne.

Yet, his half-brother, Kastor, had other plans. He tricked Damen, captured him, and stripped him of his power and identity. 

Then, to ensure he never returned, Kastor sent Damen to the prince of an enemy nation as a slave. 

Prince Laurent had a stunning face, but he was also manipulative and cruel. He’d force Damen to do all kinds of twisted deeds. 

This created a lot of tension between our two young royals. Yet, neither one could deny their attraction to the other. 

That developed into a sort of friendship. While Laurent saw Damen as a lesser being, he still enjoyed his company. 

Soon, Damen heard about a plan to overtake Akileos. That’s when he decides to join forces with Laurent and save his country. 

Will the epic battle end in death, or a happily ever after?

2.3 Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Louise Le Blanc is a young witch with extraordinary abilities and a big secret. You’d think that this would mean she’d lead a magical life.

Sadly, that’s not the case. In this world, the Church hunts down witches and burns them at the stake. 

On top of that, Louise’s mother, Morgane, is evil and has many nefarious plans. So, to escape all the chaos, Louise runs away from home with her friend Coco.

They hide away in a small town and swear off all magic. Instead, they steal to survive. 

One day, while they were skipping around town, the two friends ran into Reid. He was a witch hunter sworn to the Church. 

Reid and Louise end up fighting in public, which drew in a lot of attention. This was a shameful act for someone with his stature. 

For that reason, the only way to save Reid’s reputation was for the two to get married. Soon after, Ried and Louise developed a friendship while they were living together. 

That was until Reid found out Louise was a witch. Will he be able to accept her for who she is or will their love go up in flames?

2.4 A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

When we first meet Cat, she’s a soothsayer in a traveling circus. Although, we quickly find out she has a terrible secret. 

She’s a kingmaker, a magical being able to tell when someone lies in their presence. This put a major target on Cat’s back, which caused her to run away from home. 

After a few years of isolation, she runs into Griffin. Since he’s a warlock, he found out Cat’s true nature and kidnapped her. 

He planned to use her power to rule over his newly conquered land. Much to his dismay, Cat wasn’t going to make it easy for him. 

She fights him at every turn and forces him to second-guess all of his decisions. 

Soon enough, Griffin grows to like Cat’s fiery passion and longs for more. They spent more time together and grew closer. That’s when he decided to make her his queen.

Will Cat accept Griffin’s marriage proposal, or does she have plans of her own?

3. Adult

This subgenre caters to readers that are older than 18. It covers the friends-to-lovers trope but with adult themes. 

Instead of angst, the characters will be dealing with real-life problems. For example, they’ll have to pay bills and find stable jobs. 

This gives you a story that’s rooted in reality. Because of that, connecting with the characters should be a breeze. 

3.1 People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

This story follows two young people who are total opposites. Poppy is a wild child with insatiable wanderlust. Alex, on the other hand, is a lot more sensible and down to earth. 

One day, both of our characters were leaving college and heading home. To save on gas and money, they decided to share a ride. 

From that point on, the two became best friends. Even though they live apart for most of the year, the two had a strong connection. 

Every summer, they’d go on a vacation together to catch up. Over time, Poppy’s feelings developed far beyond friendship. 

So, on one fateful day, she decided to act on her emotions. She kissed Alex out of the blue. 

Unfortunately, this created a major rift between the two. Now, it’s a couple of years later, and Alex and Poppy haven’t spoken since the kiss. 

Yet, Poppy can’t help but feel like something is missing from her life. For that reason, she calls up Alex and asks him to go on one final trip with her.

Will a romance bloom on the getaway, or are they destined to stay apart?

3.2 Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Elliot and Macy grew up together just outside San Francisco. The two had a lot in common, which made building a friendship a walk in the park.

They’d spend hours reading books together and sharing secrets and inside jokes. Plus, they were always there to help each other when times got rough. 

For instance, when Macy’s mom passed away, Elliot was by her side, trying to cheer her up. At this point, their platonic feelings turned romantic. 

Yet, when Elliot confessed his feelings, Macy ran away and disappeared. 

Today, Macy is a pediatric resident with an older fiance. She’s in the middle of planning her wedding when she runs into Elliot by chance. 

Both of them have mixed feelings about seeing each other again. On the one hand, they still have a lot of love for one another. 

However, there’s still a lot of hostility between them.

Even though the meeting stirs up a lot of painful memories, Elliot needs to find out why Macy vanished. 

Will Macy end up leaving her fiance for Elliot?

3.3 Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young 

Despite being outgoing, Olivia always had issues connecting with the opposite sex. She’d get incredibly insecure, which made it difficult to find a boyfriend. 

Yet, when Olivia moves to Edinburgh, she decides that it’s her chance to find true love. That’s when she meets and befriends Nate. 

He’s a playboy with no intention of committing to anyone, but he finds Olivia intriguing. So, he decides to help her on her quest to find a boyfriend. 

To do that, Nate would give Olivia classes in seduction. He’d instruct her on how she should talk and behave around men. 

After spending time together, neither one of them could deny their electric chemistry. Every time they were alone, it felt like sparks went flying. 

So, against her better judgment, Olivia let go and surrendered to her lust. To her surprise, she found out that Nate felt the same way.

Yet, after the passionate night, Nate’s commitment issues reared their ugly head. Feeling brokenhearted and betrayed, Olivia decided to cut Nate off.

Will he get over his fears and win Olivia back?

3.5 The Deal by Elle Kennedy

Hannah Wells is many things, but being lucky in love is not one of them. She’s spent most of her life dealing with rejection and heartbreak. 

One day, Hannah runs into Justin and instantly falls head over heels for him. Yet, she’s unsure about approaching him.

That’s when Garret comes into play. He’s an obnoxious hockey player with an arrogant attitude.  

Both Garret and Hannah attend the same ethics class. So, when Garret fails the midterm, he asks his classmate for assistance. 

Hannah agrees on one condition. She’ll help out if he pretends to be her boyfriend to make Justin jealous. 

At first, everything was going great. Garret’s grades were improving, and it seemed like Justin began to notice Hannah. 

However, after having too many drinks at a party, the two end up in bed together. After that, Garret realized he was no longer happy with the pretend relationship. He wanted much more. 

Will he be able to convince Hannah that he’s the right guy for her?

Wrapping Up

There are countless friends-to-lovers books on the market. Some of them include fantastical beasts, while others dive into real-world issues. 

Depending on your preferences, there are a few subgenres you can choose from. These include young adults, fantasy, and adult. 

Each category has a unique style and uses different themes and tropes. So, what are you waiting for? Pick a book from our list and start reading!

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